Friday, January 07, 2005

Ocean's 12

Hi there!

My wife Chris & I went to see "Ocean's 12" over this past weekend. She and I had seen the first together, and wanted to see the sequel. I love sequels. Not because they're better (they usually are not) but because it gives me a chance to compare and look at the first film in a new light.

I have to say that I liked 12, but not as much as 11. It wasn't that 11 was funnier, it was mostly that the novelty was gone. I know, it's weird to call a remake "novel," but, with an ensemble piece, it's the gathering of the different characters that makes the movie. In 12, they tried to replicate that with Andy Garcia's character tracking down each member of the gang, who had taken their shares of the money and started new lives. It was fun, but, lacks the novelty of 11.

What does work in 12, though, are two things: the interactions of the actors, and the locales. First, the actors:

Chris loves Clooney. I mean, she LOVES Clooney! I love Brad Pitt, but I don't LOVE him. I think Clooney is fun and, the wackier character he gets, the better (see "O Brother, Where Art Thou"). The same is true of Pitt (see "12 Monkeys"). In the "Ocean's" films, they both get to be quirky, but not wacky. But what makes them the most dominant on the film (besides the fact that they are the main stars) are their chemistry. This could be seen best in the scene where they are watching TV together at 5AM, both in their bathrobes, drinking a bottle of red. Not only was it hilarious, but they were so natural together, you really felt that Brad popped by George's house often just to have a beer and veg on the couch. That's chemistry!

But, Clooney & Pitt weren't the only actors that chewed scenery. While all the actors were in fine form (my wife thought that Don Cheadle really was British), it was Matt Damon that stood out to me. I got to appreciate him more as an actor in the Bourne films. But, here, he really shines. He plays the clueless young thief so well, and he makes you laugh out loud.

Finally, the locale:

Being set in Europe this time, there are even more beautiful things to marvel at (besides the Bellagio fountain). The scenes at Lake Como are stunning. When my wife and I saw the Amsterdam bar scene, my wife whispered in my ear "I smoked a joint there!" Very funny, but also indicative of how the locale sets the tone of the film. And, how it contrasts with it: nefarious characters like thieves living and surrounded by beauty and grace.

Are these two main things the only reasons to see the film? Certainly not: there are some great gags in the film, and it will make you laugh. But, since the novelty of 11 cannot be replicated in 12, it is these two reasons which make the film worth going to in the theaters, in my opinion.

* * *
- Matt


Blogger Smelmooo said...

Well put Matt... I did find one thing to be more distracting about 12. The villian was dopey. At least Andy Garcia added a level of subdued intensity in the first one that made you root for them to win. In 12, I didn't care if they succeeded or not. In fact... if pressed... I could have easily rooted for the bad guy in 12.

9:26 AM  

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